Biden's gun advice for earthquakes
January 24th, 2013
03:50 PM ET
9 years ago

Biden's gun advice for earthquakes

(CNN) - Assault weapons aren't needed, period. Not even in earthquakes. At least, that's what Vice President Joe Biden says.

Answering critics who say assault weapons would be useful as a last line of defense should a natural disaster result in chaos, Biden gave some advice Thursday in a discussion about gun control during a Google+ Hangout.

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The vice president, known for his colorful, off-the-cuff remarks, said a double-barrel shotgun would be more practical in such a scenario, adding assault weapons are harder to handle for people unfamiliar with the firearms.

"It's harder to use an assault weapon to hit something than it is a shotgun, OK?" he said, as he mimicked holding a gun with both arms. "So if you want to keep people away in an earthquake, buy some shotgun shells."

Biden's comments came the same day Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced her assault weapons ban bill, a piece of legislation with strong support from President Barack Obama. The president and vice president rolled out their own proposals to curb gun violence last week, and Biden will hit the road Friday to take the administration's case before the public in Richmond, Virginia.

Feinstein's measure would stop the sale, transfer, importation and manufacture of more than 100 specialty firearms and certain semi-automatic rifles.

Along with banning assault weapons, the administration and Feinstein also want to install a 10-round limit for magazines.

"I'm much less concerned quite frankly about what you'd call an assault weapon than I am about magazines and the number of rounds that can be held," Biden said.

One participant in the web discussion–who had initially asked the question about earthquakes–also followed up by asking whether a magazine cap would actually have an impact in a scenario such as the mass shooting at the Connecticut elementary school that left 26 dead, including 20 children.

Biden said that gunman, who had 30-round magazines, had to swap out "four or five times." If limited to 10 rounds, however, the vice president argued the gunman would have had to swap out 25 or 30 times.

"And so what would happen is the response time, in fact, may have saved one kid's life. Maybe if it took longer, maybe one more kid would be alive," Biden said.

He also pointed to the gunmen in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting and the Tucson, Arizona shooting, both of whom had to pause because their magazines either ran out or jammed.

When pressed on whether he expects an assault weapons ban or magazine limit to actually reduce crime, Biden said he's "not making the argument that this will end crime."

"I'm making the argument this way: There's no sporting need that I'm aware of that has a magazine that holds 50 rounds. None that I'm aware of. And I'm a sportsman."

Filed under: Gun rights • Joe Biden
soundoff (487 Responses)
  1. Fai is Fair


    ok. I don't own gun nor intend to buy one. My question is if guns are taken away from the general pubic, and the criminals can get hold of any kind of weapons, what good is that?
    Those of us who DO own weapons ask the same question.

    January 25, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  2. Jesse

    Wade CNN is not a reporting news organization as much as it is a commentating news organization so they have biased views to sell advertising.

    January 25, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. CC

    From Biden's mouth: "Biden said that gunman, who had 30-round magazines, had to swap out "four or five times." If limited to 10 rounds, however, the vice president argued the gunman would have had to swap out 25 or 30 times."

    That's just awesome. 30 x 4 = 120, 30 x 5 = 150. 10 x 25 = 250, 10 x 30 = 300. Just awesome. Propagandist.

    January 25, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. ny88

    janelle.. if this is your only reason for owning an assualt rifle with 30 round clips then I think you're in big trouble. The U.S. Military has an arsenal that is unmatched in the entire world. That assualt rifle is a tinker toy compared to the resources or our military. If that's your only excuse for banning assualt rifles and 30 round clips then you need to rethink. Your excuse is about as lame as the "if the Jews had guns they would have been able to fight off Hitler". It took France, Britain, Russia and the U.S. to handle Hitler. Please come up with some better reasoning.

    January 25, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  5. jim

    Uncle Joe did just spout some truth. At close range, a shotgun is far more devastating than a so called assault rifle. That's next on Diane Feinstein's list after handguns.

    January 25, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. Rasputin

    Hey watch where you point that finger Biden! We should remove you from office ( expulsion) for 2 days because thats what kids get nowadays for doing that in school. Loaded finger with extreme prejudice!!!

    January 25, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. Marco Coelho

    It's amazing how the liberals and the liberal media are holding back the fact that the shooter DID NOT use an "assault weapon", he in fact used pistols. The AR-15 was in the trunk of the car.

    January 25, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. Marco Coelho

    Mexico has had utter and complete gun control for decades (jail for even having a bullet). How many Mexicans have died at the hands of the cartels? Well over 45,000. That is what absolute gun control is good for. Making Citizens unarmed TARGETS.

    January 25, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. Marco Coelho

    The issue here and in other mass killings is not about guns. It is about a COMPLETE FAILURE of our MENTAL HEALTH system and the laws governing unstable individuals. Presently, there is no mechanism to detain or force an unstable individual to take their medications UNLESS they have been evaluated by a mental health professional, and DEEMED to be a danger to themselves or others. Together with HIPAA laws, we are stuck in a catch 22. No data, and no system to help these individuals, or help to keep them away from unsuspecting society. We need INTELLIGENT analysis and THOUGHTFUL laws to deal with this. Not a bunch of hyperbole and knee jerk laws made for headlines.

    January 25, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. Rocketdan

    I'm sure Joe has instructed his SS agents to lose the Glocks and get double barrel shotguns instead, despite their lack of range and limited shot capacity. Does he ever actually THINK before he speaks? The top gun sold in the US and used for hunting is an AR15 variant. Does Joe really believe that all those people have no clue what is best for them?

    Look for his new "Joe Knows" T-shirts and bumper stickers for 2016.

    January 25, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  11. Marco Coelho

    We must prosecute any member of congress that votes for gun control of any kind for Treason. They have all sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution.

    January 25, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  12. Chris

    So now the fight is to take weapons away from Americans, not decrease crime? Why don't you, Mr. Vice-President, have your men give up their weapons and carry shotguns? Why don't you, Ms. Feinstein, give up your guns and carry a shotgun? While you two are at it, have your children's (or your grand childrens) school take away their guards and their personal guards? Why? We all know why don't we?
    Just for the record, I'd like to keep my options as open as yours Mr. and Mrs. Politicians!
    Now, get your heads out of your rear ends and put something into effect that rids us of the murderers, go hunt them down, shoot them like the rabid dogs they've become, clean up America. Start in those inner cities and while you're at it, put the nut cases in the nut boxes! That would be quite a liberal move, go for it!

    January 25, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  13. REGinAz

    Quoting a recent article on Republican strategy to change electorial to popular vote in states where it would benefit them: "But these proposed changes are shortsighted for two reasons. One, the Republicans pushing them are all but acknowledging that their party problems heading into 2016 are so significant that they have to change the rules in order to win. In other words, they are throwing in the towel and trying to rig the system."  That says it all.  Just like their aggressive and extensive efforts to redistrict wherever it allows them to suppress the majority favoring the Democrats, they constantly seek to use trickery instead of ever changing their ways to actually serve the people and not just to serve "the money", their masters, and then their own political ambitions.  Oh to ever have the Grande Ole Party back, with once again a sincere and conscience driven concern for the people, ... but they are so owned and controlled as "puppets" for "the money" that their thinking never goes in that direction.  Until they and their propaganda are totally, and it seems necessarily repeatedly, rejected they likely will never get the message.

    January 25, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  14. Marco Coelho

    For those who have not studied history, the reason our forefathers created the second amendment was to ensure that we the citizens would always be able to keep OUR government in check. A well armed populace are citizens. A disarmed populace are subjects.

    January 25, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. pkfops

    600k guns are stolen from private homes every year.

    Only seven states require gun theft to be reported.

    There is no federal law for private gun theft to be reported.

    January 25, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. card51short

    to everyone who says that an armed population can't fend off a formidable army doesn't know history. That's why America couldn't defeat Vietnam...Russia couldn't defeat afghanistan...And America defeated the all powerful english army in 1776. The invaders never win.

    January 25, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  17. Steve

    A 12-guage pump or semi-auto shotgun is a great home defense weapon– NOT a double barreled model. The 5.56 MM (.223 caliber) round used in the Colt AR-15 clones has a muzzle velocity in excess of 3000 feet per second which may not make your neighbors happy.

    January 25, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. Fish

    ok. I don't own gun nor intend to buy one. My question is if guns are taken away from the general pubic, and the criminals can get hold of any kind of weapons, what good is that?
    that has to be one of the best questions i have heard asked about the gun debate. the only reason i own guns is to defend myself. the chances of it happening aren't likely but there's always that chance.

    reason for 2nd amendment? two words: red dawn

    January 25, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. psywar

    Is a double-barrel shotgun going to fend off a gang of 4-8 looters/rapists/killers though? The greatest threat in this type of situation is going to be groups of people looking to take advantage, not the lone wolf.

    January 25, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  20. ericfreerock

    Umm... shotguns kick way harder than an AR chambered in 5.56. Shotguns are going to cause a lot more collateral damage too since you can't shoot past an innocent to hit the bad guy since you'll just hit the innocent too.

    January 25, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    ny88..I would rather die fighting then die in a gas chamber......what happened to us in viet nam,Irack,afganistan, these enemy's of our do a damn good job on us (America) with there little handheld ak's and homemade bombs. America has the best military ever on earth but it can't win a war anymore it seems. btw, I'm 64 and a former Marine and viet nam vet.

    January 25, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  22. Kim

    How about Zombies Joe...did you ever think of that....go to the movies much Joe? A shotgun would be entirly ineffective if attacked by a simple horde of Zombies, to say nothing of zombies during an earthquake. People have a right to be prepared for all eventualities.

    January 25, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  23. Howard

    Seriously, Mr. Biden, do you really think any sane intelligent person believes that you honestly care about sparing the life of one kid in these horrendous violent acts? In due respect, you vote for, voice your support for, and authorize payment of tax money for abortion on demand which kills over 3,500 kids per day in the U.S. and these 3,500 die very violent deaths also. Without a doubt, the most dangerous place in America for our kids is in the womb. But you say, these are not human beings and can be discarded at will. Nobody can argue that these mass shootings are beyond belief for any sane person, but equally so are the other 3,500 PER DAY. God help you and everyone else who supports these other far greater mass killings in every state of this great country. When will you and the masses begin to fight those atrocities with every ounce of energy you have.

    January 25, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. Proud2BeAmerican

    There's no weapon more powerful than a good education. Sadly this is lacking for a large fraction of gun owners. I have vented against civilian gun ownership but do acknowledge that there is a sizable fraction of responsible owners who would use them only in self defense. But one does need to acknowledge the failure of a system that allows mass shootings to occur because guns fall into the hands of the mentally ill.

    January 25, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  25. Tired of talking points

    Second amendment rights and the concept of a citizen taking on the US Military is beyond what I can comprehend. Check out YouTube of a c130 gunship engaging. Then check out apache attack chopper, then check out A10 warthog. After looking at just those three assets, try to imagine taking on the US military with a semi automatic 223, and 30 round clip. Not going to happen, you would die. Consider a 37mm grenade launcher, shoulder fired rockets, 50cal full auto guns that can easily shoot through a 10 inch block wall filled with concrete, full auto cannons various sizes. Really, some people think they can take that on with a ar15 and a 30 round clip??? Even the crazy Middle Eastern radicals, have figured out that a bomb is the most effective way to fight the US military. Bombs were a favorite in Ireland where guns were banned. Bombs are a favorite world wide. So how do we protect ourselves from bombs??? More security, welcome to a world where everywhere you go is like airport security. Sports venues, festivals, church gatherings, anywhere a large group of people come together is a potential target. How do you stop bombs??? Even the Israelis haven’t figured that one out, and they are what I would offer up as a gold standard in security and defense.

    So for those of you that advocate melting down every last firearm in the USA, HOW are you going to deal with what the crazy will choose as a replacement?? There is already a world wide track record to follow, and that leads straight to BOMBS!!! So, why not security now, and just get it over with. People could keep their guns, but the crazy’s would not be able to get into schools to do their killing. There are some parts of the country have security in schools where the school is locked down, anyone coming into the school is screened. Best I know, there have been no shootings in those schools. Bombs would be pretty tough to get through school security like that.

    Not a pretty picture. The core problem is family. Couple that with low paying jobs, working two jobs, LONG work hours, both parents working, and very little quality time to parent, or mentor our children. Too big a problem to tackle in a few words.

    January 25, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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